Sometimes I have a dig at Nottingham and Rock City. Rightly in my opinion. But then I occassionally go to Sheffield. It's weird here. Decent venues, and almost all the time lousy turnouts. Personally, I begin to wonder why gigs are booked here. It's like half way between Bradford, which gets a decent turnout, and Nottingham, which despite my misgivings, often gets a decent turnout. And then there's Sheffield. Yeah hmmm. It means that a band like Medulla Nocte are faced with the task of opening to no-one on the dance floor. And yeah, that no-one includes me. I'm pretty much further forward than everyone else. But these days I don't go in the (non-existent) pit, and I'm too insecure to stand there in the middle on my tod. It's wrong of me to criticise what I don't do myself, but fuck you cos I write this and so I'm allowed to be a hypocrite. Besides I've been told "you're a journalist so you don't have to" because of writing the zine. Which of course is a pile of shit both ways. I'm not a journalist, I'm a music fan who goes to gigs cos I like to and then writes some stuff about them afterwards. And even if you are a journalist, it doesn't give you any different rights over anyone else. At least it shouldn't.
But still, the empty floor is what Medulla are faced with tonight, on their first gig with the new bassist whose name Paul did tell me beforehand, but I forget. Ooops, sorry. Well it may have been the first gig, but on the size of the performance it won't be the last. Starting out with All Our Friends Are Dead, there's an intensity that for the next 30 minutes is rarely seen. Well rarely seen outside of a Nocte gig. Skinlab and Entombed did well, but in terms of intensity, there's no comparison. Paul hurls himself around what little space the band do have, throws himself to the ground I don't know how many times, and makes a noise that is generally scary enough to worry even Morrow from Iron Monkey. A couple of new songs, Nothing for second (I think, forget now!) and Inside I'm Dying show that the band are expanding, Paul even sings a bit, but still haven't lost the intensity. Nowhere near it. It may have even been upped a notch. The drumkit almost gets demolished as Paul crashes into it. A Conversation Alone almost seems a sadly apt title, Choking on Dirt is still there, and they prove that they've not succumbed to samples live yet, when as Paul introduces Hooked On Masturbation, he explains "there's some stuff here and then it goes warrrrgghhhhhhh" and the song is off. Listen to the album and you'll know what I mean. All That I Ask rounds things off. Afterwards, both Paul and Jammer think they were a bit off and a bit rusty. Which scares the fuck out of me. When they are on, and in front of a crowd, pretty much most bands who pride themselves on that intensity thing would shit their pants. I seem to use these terms for lots of bands, which contradicts itself, but they are simply put, one of THE greatest live bands out there. End of story.
Skinlab it has to be said, were going to be up against it after that. Steev does manage to get a handful to come down to the front for them. I mean, so he should after saying "we've driven a long way to play here". The new album, which incidentally is much better than the debut, is out in a months time and so the set gets mixed between old and new. It's kind of a funny set, it's a battle for the band, as during an interview afterwards, they readily admit. Sheffield you see, has paid about 7 quid to sit on it's collective arse. Yeah, I know, pot kettle black. Create a sentence. But I stand on my collective feet. They may not move much, they may not be very graceful, but at least give a band some attention. In spite of the underwhelming response, the band still make the effort. New guitarist Snake plays to the people, even if it's not many, Steev throws himself around in a way a man his size shouldn't be able to and new tracks like Second Skin: New Flesh and set closer So Far From The Truth are the best from a band, who like the Nocte before them, deserved more than apathy.
At least Entombed didn't get all the apathy, though some arses obviously still require medical supervision for the condition of sittus on arsicus. Apparently they're trying to keep it quiet from the public for fear of a mass bout of hysteria, but I can reveal that it's been proven that standing up at a gig results in immediate spontaneous human combustion, and you just turn into a fireball, and seconds later a pile of ashes. Honest. But some people risked it. And you know what, they seemed to prove medical science wrong.
Entombed open with Addiction King from the new album, and though the music has changed, LG hasn't. Still running around singing with all the style and grace that I'd be able to muster, there's no pretension here. And there's always a chuckle from the man between songs. Some older stuff is aired, such as Blessed Be, but primarily it's drawn from the last two albums, with Same Difference, Smart Aleck, To Ride ... Like This With The Devil, They and Damn Deal Done amongst others. Though no Lights Out. "We haven't rehearsed that one" claims LG. Shame. A few invaders get onstage, only to be greeted by Mr Security rushing them to get them off, and in so doing, getting more in the way than them half the time. Hollowman and Left Hand Path, Wolverine Blues it's all good stuff. "We first played Sheffield 9 years ago, and there were only 20 people here". Well, maybe that can be some consolation for the Nocte and Skinlab. And maybe promoters should book gigs elsewhere.
Anyway, in keeping with the theme of the night, an interview took place with Skinlab later, which was one of the most shambolic ones I've ever done. Which was my fault. Hopefully it will have come out, but hey. It doesn't get any worse. Well apart from when Steev then took me to the Entombed dressing room to do an interview with them, which as I had nothing prepared was quite possibly the worst interview ever. They'll appear in a future Yaz so that you can see how not to do them. Sometimes I should be shot. Line me up with the rest of Sheffield.